Austin-based composer Roger Sellers aka Bayonne released his debut album Primitives last month via Mom + Pop Music. Ahead of the record release, he shared the song “Appeals,” a solid follow up to previous single “Spectrolite.” “Appeals” is a colorful, piano-driven number with looped vocals and a playful melody that reminds us a little of Animal Collective. Listen below.
We had the pleasure of interviewing ELEL back in March just before the release of their debut EP, and now they’re back with another delightful track called “Kiss Kiss.” The indie-pop collective from Nashville — whose music is often described as “world pop” is layered with swirling keyboards, guitars, horns, percussion, and rollicking drums, creating a resoundingly catchy and overall affirming sound. Stream “Kiss Kiss” below and look out for the group’s debut album Geode to drop via Mom + Pop Music in early 2016.
Prayers are with Paris on this tragic day, but in much less sombre news, Poliça have announced a third album and successor to 2013’s Shulamith. The new LP, United Crushers will be out March 4 via Mom + Pop / Memphis Industries.
Inspired by Poliça’s home base in Minneapolis where they wrote the record, the album is said to be a love letter to their hometown and its tumultuous political history. Listen to the first taste off the LP “Lime Habit” below, plus prior effort “Chain My Name” for good measure.
Along with the news comes the announcement of their US Spring 2016 tour, so be sure to check out the dates below.
Poliça Spring 2016 Tour Dates:
02-11 Berlin, Germany – Berghain Kantine
02-15 London, England – Village Underground
02-19 New York, NY – Rough Trade
02-22 Chicago, IL – Schubas
03-02 Minneapolis, MN – Turf Club
03-03 Minneapolis, MN – 7th Street Entry
03-04 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
03-08 Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
03-09 Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
03-10 Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard
03-11 Houston, TX – Warehouse Studio
03-12 Dallas, TX – The Loft
03-22 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent
03-23 San Diego, CA – Irenic
03-25 Los Angeles, CA – Fonda
03-26 San Francisco, CA – Fillmore
03-28 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
03-29 Portland, OR – Doug Fir
03-30 Vancouver, British Columbia – Imperial
03-31 Seattle, WA – Neptune
04-14 Madison, WI – High Noon
04-15 Milwaukee, WI – Turner Hall
04-16 Chicago, IL – Thalia Hall
04-18 Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
04-20 Toronto, Ontario – Lee’s Palace
04-21 Montreal, Quebec – Petit Campus
04-22 Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall
04-23 New York, NY – Warsaw
04-25 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer
04-26 Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
04-28 Raleigh, NC – Cat’s Cradle
04-29 Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
04-30 Nashville, TN – Mercy
05-01 Asheville, NC – Mothlight
05-04 Cincinnati, OH – Madison Live
05-05 Columbus, OH – A&R Bar (basement)
05-06 Columbia, MO – Rose Music Hall
05-07 Lawrence, KS – Bottleneck
Bayonne, born Roger Sellers is a minimalist composer based out of Austin with an aptitude for making hypnotic electronic beats. A self-described Phil Collins disciple, Sellers’ foray into music began with the gift of a drum set from his parents at the age of 6. Sellers says: “I wanted to be Phil Collins for so many years as a child. He was my hero. I feel like you can hear that a lot in my music, that big drum sound, because so much of the way I play was learned from Phil Collins.”
Listen to the shimmering single “Spectrolite” off his forthcoming debut album and see if you can hear the influence. The LP will release on Mom + Pop Music (label home to Andrew Bird, Courtney Barnett and Flume) early next year. Upcoming tour dates — including a round of CMJ shows can be found below.
10/7 – San Francisco, CA – The Depot / SF State
10/14 – New York, NY – Piano’s (CMJ)
11/9 – Los Angeles, CA – Teragram Ballroom (supporting Toro y Moi)
Another singer being hailed as a breakthrough artist after a successful run at SXSW, Tei Shi is on a bit of a hot streak right now. The chanteuse captivated us with her track “Bassically,” and now she’s shared another effort off her forthcoming EP, Verde — due out via Mermaid Avenue / Mom + Pop Music on April 14. Appropriately mellower than the aforementioned single, “Go Slow” is an airy, mellifluous number accompanied by a metered bassline.
Don’t miss Tei Shi on her upcoming North American/European tour, which kicks off in our very own DC on April 25 at DC9. Find the full tour schedule below.
4.25.15 – DC9 – Washington, DC
4.27.15 – Great Scott – Allston, MA *
4.29.15 – The Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY *
4.30.15 – MilkBoy – Philadelphia, PA
5.1.15 – MIT – Boston, MA
5.2.15 – Theatre Fairmount – Montreal, QC
5.8.15 – Popscene – San Francisco, CA ^
5.9.15 – Lyrics Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
5.11.15 – School Night – Los Angeles, CA ^
5.14.15 – The Great Escape 2015 – Brighton, UK
5.15.15 – Beursschouwburg – Brussels, Belgium
5.17.15 – London Calling Festival 2015 – Amsterdam, Netherlands
5.19.15 – Pop Up du Label – Paris, France
5.22.15 – Dot to Dot Festival 10th Birthday 2015 – Manchester, UK
5.23.15 – Dot to Dot Festival 10th Birthday 2015 – Bristol, UK
5.24.15 – Dot to Dot Festival 10th Birthday 2015 – Nottingham, UK
6.2.15 – O2 Academy Bournemouth – London, UK
6.3.15 – O2 Academy Brixton – London, UK
6.6.15 – Field Day 2015 – London, UK
6.7.15 – The Parklife Weekender 2015 – Manchester, UK
* w/ Shy Girls
^ w/ Lapsley
ELEL is a new eight-piece based out of Nashville that has been building a good amount of buzz this past year. Founded by Ben Elkins, the epithet ELEL is an amalgam of Ben’s surname and his wife’s first name, Eliska (insert requisite “awe” here). Recently signed to Mom + Pop Records (Andrew Bird, Jagwar Ma, Poliça) the indie outfit is also comprised of musicians Zach Tichenor (keys/guitar/vocals), Tim Cook (guitar/keys/vocals), Jo Jo Jackson (bass/vocals), Alex Mojavarian (drums/percussion), Jerry Pentecost (drums/percussion), Fredrick Weathersby (trumpet/vocals), and Stefan Forbus (saxophone/vocals).
Collectively with their array of instruments, ELEL make exuberant indie pop complete with lo-fi sampling and lots of live improvisation. Prior to the group’s show at DC’s Black Cat with opener Avers tonight, we caught up with frontman Ben, post-sound check in Philly to discuss their self-titled EP that released today.
When did ELEL first come together?
It came together over about a six month period starting about two and a half years ago up, until we played our first show in in Nashville. A lot of us worked at Trader Joe’s, and at the time I was putting together a new band and got into kind of a crunch cause I needed people to play a show. I asked around a bit to see if people were available and lo and behold they were also great musicians. Around that same time I also met Zach at a party and we just hit it off. The two horn players were more of a struggle to nail down initially – I had to keep calling and calling, but once Fredrick came to the first practice, he was in. So it kind of came together in a real neat organic sort of way, which is great.
Can you give us a little insight into what all went into recording the EP?
It was a lot of recording at my house on my computer with just headphones. I like to record old instrumental jazz records collected from thrift stores over the years. I’ll listen through the song and chop out small chords and percussion parts, loop this or that and manipulative them in a lot of different ways – that really makes the song come alive more than just me doing that part with my own keyboard or something. It was a lot of messing around with textures just to get the feel of it down, then we would replace those parts in the studio. I did all the vocals at my house because I like to take my time with that kind of thing; plus I tend to get nervous in the studio setting since you’re paying for it and have all these random people listening to you.
Did you have to get a lot of equipment?
No but I mean I should have if I’d had the money! I just kind of worked with what I had. I borrowed this really neat old broadcasting mic from a friend, which is what I sing the vocals through. It’s a real DIY kind of project, that’s kind of one of the reasons that I’m thrilled that it’s resonating with people, ’cause I worked countless hours and put countless amounts of energy into it but didn’t necessarily have the best equipment.
You’ve talked before about the music industry being overly obsessed with perfection. Can you speak to that a bit more?
Definitely, I think the record industry’s drive towards perfection is mostly motivated by fear. The industry is so scared of taking risks right now because as we all know, for 10 or 15 years or so there’s been a decrease in revenue in the music business. So the reaction has been to not take any chances, and what that means to record executives is to make everything sound perfect. And it’s unfortunate because I think that a lot of the music that’s coming out is so perfectly produced that it doesn’t even sound human anymore. It’s like a photograph that gets touched up on a magazine cover, you know.
For sure, everything’s photoshopped these days.
Uh huh, it’s like that Foster the People video where this one model is told to manipulate her body, and by the end of it she’s changed so much that she looks really, really weird. It’s pretty intense – but in a way that’s what’s happening to music. When you hear a live band that’s really groovin, it just impacts your heart and soul. But if you took that performance and fixed all the idiosyncrasies, something would be lost. Humans don’t look or sound perfect – and if we get further and further away from that in our art, to me it feels uncomfortable and it doesn’t resonate as much with people.
What music inspires you the most and who are you currently listening to?
Anything that stirs my soul. Can be anything from 90s garage rock, to jazz, soul, and modern indie bands like Beach House or Local Natives. Also the most recent Flume release is pretty freakin’ awesome. And actually, it may sound strange but I’m not a huge music consumer; I probably shouldn’t say that – it sounds snobbish but maybe it’s the music producer in me that makes me want to change things. Nonetheless, when I hear a song that moves my soul – that’s the kind of music I want to make and contribute to this world.
How did you get connected to the Mom + Pop label?
Julia, the A&R person there found our track “40 Watt” in May 2014. That was a huge moment, receiving that email. I was sitting with my bandmate Tim in front of my laptop after an ELEL practice, and just happened to see the email from Mom and Pop and got so excited that as he was talking I hit him in the chest and was just like, look at this! We both started yelling, giving each other high fives and immediately went into the kitchen to pour tequila shots. And that was just an introductory email!
Haha, well luckily it all worked out. What’s next for ELEL?
We’re touring right now and getting ready to release a couple of videos off the EP, excited to be playing in SXSW this month, then heading from Austin up to the Northwest for a few more tour dates before heading back home.
Upcoming ELEL Tour Dates:
Noel Gallagher has declared himself a fan of Jagwar Ma — the dance rock duo whose music he deemed more important than an Oasis reformation. And no wonder — the Aussie’s debut album, Howlin’ is replete with energy, synths and chemistry. On the album track “Man I Need,” Gabriel Winterfield’s vocals and the structure of the riffs seem to roll along in unison with one another. Stream the single, along with Andy Buchan’s free edit below.
Note: It was just announced that Jagwar Ma will be performing at Coachella this year!
This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the brilliant artistry and musical genius of Andrew Bird. On November 12th he released new EP I Want to See Pulaski at Night, which is primarily instrumental save for the title track. Pitchfork describes “Pulaski at Night” as Bird at his best: “tightly crafted, lyrically witty, understated yet sophisticated” – and “stalwartly Romantic.” True, true.
A. Bird has a handful of tour dates coming up in December listed below, including a stop in Brooklyn. And how they’re not already sold out, I don’t know.
Half empty, half full
Cup runneth over
Horns of plenty, coffers full
We’re starting over
Upcoming Tour Dates:
12/6 Brooklyn, NY – Rough Trade NYC
12/9 Chicago, IL – Fourth Presbyterian Church
12/10 Chicago, IL – Fourth Presbyterian Church
12/11 Chicago, IL – Fourth Presbyterian Church
12/12 Chicago, IL – Fourth Presbyterian Church
12/16 San Francisco, CA – Congregation Sherith Israel
12/17 San Francisco, CA – Congregation Sherith Israel
12/19 Los Angeles, CA – Immanuel Presbyterian
12/20 Los Angeles, CA – Immanuel Presbyterian